26 March 2009
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW NURSING QUALIFICATIONS REGISTERED ON THE NATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK (NQF)
PURPOSE OF CIRCULAR
The purpose of this circular is to inform providers of nursing education and training and stakeholders about the implementation of the new nursing qualifications registered on the NQF and the phasing out of the legacy qualifications as per the decision taken by the South African Nursing Council (SANC).
1. LEGISLATION AND POLICY REQUIREMENTS
Section 31(1) of the Nursing Act, 2005 (Act No. 33 of 2005), provides for the following categories of nurses who may practise as practitioners if registered by the Council upon fulfillment of the prescribed education and training requirements:
To give effect to these provisions, the Council developed a new scope of practice for each category except the auxiliary midwife and a competency framework for each category. In line with the new scopes of practice, the following new nursing qualifications were developed and are registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF):
2. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW NQF-REGISTERED NURSING QUALIFICATIONS
2.1. PHASING-OUT OF THE LEGACY NURSING QUALIFICATIONS
The following qualifications that existed prior to the creation of the NQF are recorded as legacy qualifications on the NQF:
The expiry date of registration of the above-mentioned legacy qualifications on the NQF is 30 June 2010.
2.2 IMPLICATIONS FOR PROVIDERS THAT WERE APPROVED FOR THE ABOVE-MENTIONED LEGACY QUALIFICATIONS IN TERMS OF THE NURSING ACT, 1978 (Act No. 50 of 1978)
The final intake date for the legacy qualifications by the approved providers of nursing education and training is 30 June 2010. Providers will not admit any learner for a legacy qualification after this final intake date.
Further, the Council will not register or enroll any person for a legacy qualification, who commences education and training after 30 June 2010.
The teach-out period (end achievement date) for all legacy qualifications will be the prescribed duration of the course of study, with an allowance of an additional period not exceeding two years for learners who were registered or enrolled by 30 June 2010.
3. PHASING-IN OF THE NQF REGISTERED NURSING QUALIFICATIONS
3.1. BASIC QUALIFICATIONS
Providers wishing to offer a learning programme for any of the new qualifications registered on the NQF that lead to registration of a person in a category stipulated in section 31 of the Nursing Act, 2005, must apply for accreditation to the South African Nursing Council. Although providers may commence with the development of their curricula based on the qualifications requirements, the SANC can only assess and evaluate the curricula for the new qualifications once the regulatory prescripts for registration of a person in terms of section 31 of the Nursing Act, 2005, are in place.
SANC will therefore not accept any applications for accreditation from providers prior to the finalization of these regulatory prescripts.
SANC is currently finalizing the regulations that prescribe the minimum requirements for each of the categories of nurse provided for in section 31 of the Nursing Act, 2005 as well as the regulations that prescribe the accreditation standards, criteria and requirements that providers must comply with.
Without these regulations, SANC is unable to accredit any provider to offer any new qualification registered on the NQF as these regulations are aligned to the new categories of nurse and the new scopes of practice which require the minimum requirements to be prescribed in regulations. SANC anticipates that the new regulations will be in place by the third quarter of 2009.
The implementation date for the new qualifications registered on the NQF will be in and around 2011 and as this date is dependent on the availability of the regulations mentioned earlier, the actual date in 2011 will be published in a notice in the Government Gazette.
3.2 IMPLICATIONS FOR PROVIDERS OF BASIC NURSING QUALIFICATIONS
Providers that intend to offer any of the above-mentioned qualifications may commence with curriculum development using the content of the qualification, with the understanding that regulations will provide new prescripts for education and training requirements of each of the affected training programmes.
Regulations for basic qualifications are currently in progress but not yet promulgated.
The curriculum for each new qualification will have to be in line with the above-mentioned regulations that relate to minimum requirements for education and training for each category of nurse provided for in section 31 of the Nursing Act, 2005 and regulations relating to accreditation of institutions as nursing institutions, once these are promulgated.
NB: During the interim period Council will not accept or review any curricula until the regulations are finalized.
4. POST-BASIC QUALIFICATIONS
The Council is yet to finalize the implementation of the post-basic qualifications. Information in this regard will be made available to providers in due course.
5. STATUS OF EXISTING NURSING EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
Providers of nursing education and training that were approved in terms of the Nursing Act, 1978, will be granted provisional accreditation until 30 June 2010.
6. APPLICATIONS FOR APPROVAL OF LEGACY QUALIFICATIONS
With effect from the date of this circular, the Nursing Council will not accept any new applications for approval/accreditation of legacy qualifications. Applications that are with the Council already will be dealt with between the Council and the individual applicants concerned.